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Obey Supreme Court order, Bayelsa Govt urges RMAFC



The Bayelsa Government has urged the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to obey the Supreme Court order over the disputed Soku oil and gas fields, which ownership is in contention between Bayelsa and Rivers States.
Gov. Douye Diri made the call on Thursday when he received a fact-finding team from the federal agency in Government House, Yenagoa.
Newsmen reports that the governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Mr Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, said the apex court had given an order for proper demarcation of the boundary between the two states as decisive step to resolve the impasse.
He lamented that while the National Boundaries Commission is yet to implement the order, the RMAFC decided to be paying accruals from the disputed Soku oil wells to Rivers State following a later judgement by a lower court on the same issue.
The governor said, for the sake of equity and justice, the accruals should be saved in an escrow account pending the final resolution of the matter.
He also recalled that the Bayelsa State Government had since secured a judgement against the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) which is yet to be implemented by the Commission.
Diri, who charged the RMAFC to strictly apply the right indices for revenue allocation and distribution, said the Commission needed to be more circumspect in taking decisions in respect of revenue disputes between states in the country.
According to him, the present revenue distribution formula does not meet the development needs of Nigeria as a Republic with 36 federating units, and called on the Commission to display integrity and competence in ensuring that the right thing is done.
His words: “For us in Bayelsa, the indices being applied and used for revenue distribution are not correct, but skewed against us. Your duty as revenue allocation commission is quite a big responsibility to ensure the application of the right indices.
“An issue I want to speak about briefly here is the RMAFC’s hasty decisions on revenue disputes between states.
“We have an issue with the Rivers State Government over the disputed Soku oil wells. While the matter is yet to be resolved, we expect the accruals to be paid into an escrow account.
“There is subsisting Supreme Court judgement on the matter. The Supreme Court said go and demarcate the boundary.
“While that has not been done, the Rivers State Government is relying on a lower court judgement on same issue to get all the revenues from the assets.
“In another instance, the Bayelsa State Government got a favourable judgement against the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), for which we expected the RMAFC to also give us our money but it had not complied,” he said.
Speaking earlier, the Leader of the RMAFC delegation, Mr Andrew Agbaga, said the 12-member team was part of the Indices and Distribution Committee of the Commission, which is currently visiting all the states in the country.
Agbaga, who is the Federal Commissioner representing Delta State at the Commission, disclosed that their assignment in the state was to verify whether what is approved and distributed by RMAFC is what actually gets to the states and local government areas.
He said another justification for the visit was to see if the indices being used for revenue disbursement were in conformity with approved principles.


Nigeria committed to ensure security, peace in West Africa – Akpabio



The President of the Senate, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, has restated Nigeria’s commitment to ensuring peace and security in West Africa.

Akpabio said this on Thursday in Abuja at the opening of the international roundtable on Parliamentary Security Sector Governance.

The roundtable was organised by National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) in collaboration with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS).

The roundtable drew lawmakers from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana.

Represented by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, Sen. Daniel Gbenga, Akpabio recommend synergy among countries in the sub-region to address insecurity.

“Nigeria is a country that is willing and determined to ensure that the West Africa sub- region enjoys peace, security, shared prosperity in our developmental goals.

“In order to mitigate the challenges already identified, it is important to properly address insecurity in the West African sub region.

“This can be done through deep cooperation and deliberate policies and laws by our parliament, as well as empower the parliament to assume full legislative powers,” he said.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas, said the security sector plays a pivotal role in ensuring peace, stability, and development within any nation.

Represented by the Deputy Speaker, Rep. Benjamin Kalu, Abbas said effective governance and reform of the security sector were essential for upholding the rule of law, protecting human rights, and safeguarding democratic principles.

“In this regard, the role of parliament is indispensable as it serves as a key institution for oversight, legislation, and budgetary control over the security sector.

“I urge all stakeholders present to consider practical strategies for enhancing parliamentary engagement in security sector governance.

“This may involve developing specialised training programs for parliamentarians on security related matters, establishing robust mechanisms for information sharing between security agencies and parliamentary committees.

“Also for fostering a culture of dialogue and cooperation between the executive and legislative branches on security policy formulation,” he said.

The Director-General, NILDS, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman said that in recent times, West Africa faced a scourge of terrorism, insurgency, and transnational crime.

He said that the menace presented formidable threats to the collective peace and stability of the region.

According to him, security issues, including illicit trafficking and the movement of armed groups, further compound the complexities.

“We must confront these urgently; internal conflicts, driven by various factors, pose additional challenges that require our immediate attention.

“More recently, the series of military coups that have taken place in and around our region which remains a threat to peace, the rule of law and democratic stability within the region.

“As legislators, you stand at the forefront of crafting responses to these challenges.

“The laws and policies you shape must not only address the immediate threats but also lay the foundation for sustainable security sector governance and reform,” he said.

Sulaiman said the roundtable provided an opportunity to pool insights, share best practices, and develop legislative frameworks that are responsive to the unique security dynamics of West Africa.

Peran said that there has been a spread of terrorism and violent extremism with terrorist groups becoming more and more sophisticated.

“Wave to try to understand better why the security situation is so complex and what can be done to improve it in a sustainable fashion said the Resident Rep of KAS, Ms Marija Peran.

According to her, security sector reforms and governance plays a vital role in stabilising the region.

She said they had also been recognised as an essential precondition not only for conflict prevention, post-conflict reconstruction and peace-building but in general for good governance.

“Security sector reforms, repurposing of security institutions and agencies, improved interagency cooperation and effective oversight of the security sector are critical enablers to create the peaceful and secure Africa,” she said.

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Senate threatens to step down NCoS budget over insufficient information



The Senate has threatened to step down consideration on the 2024 budget of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS) over insufficient information

Sen. Adams Oshiomhole, the Chairman,Senate Committee on Interior, Sen.Adams Oshiomole, said this said this at the 2024 budget defence of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Interior on Thursday in Abuja.

Oshiomole said he was unhappy with the services being rendered to inmates by the NCoS.

“Your organisation has transformed from Nigeria Prison Service to Nigerian Correctional Service but you have yet to change in your attitudes toward inmates.

“It’s not just your fault because the government appropriates little money for you, it is either you don’t feed the inmates or you feed them only once and even at that, very miserable food.

“This is why they have completely emaciated and some can never live a decent life again even when they did not commit an offence.

“You all know the price of food items in the market, so how can you look us eye to eye and tell us that you feed a man in Nigeria with N750 a day, how much is a bottle of water,” he said.

He said that the committee would not be in a haste to approve any budget for the service until it received satisfactory answers.

He requested for a breakdown of the number of inmates and security dogs at the correctional centers and how they were fed daily.

“I would like to see a breakdown of how you feed the inmates. If you say you feed inmates three times a day with N250 each.

“How many dogs do you have and how much does it cost to feed them daily,” he said.

Responding, the NCS Comptroller General, Alhaji Haliru Nababa, said the service had a total of 81,358 inmates nationwide, saying that 53,362 of the inmates were awaiting trial.

“We feed each inmate with N750 daily and they are fed three times daily (N250 for each square meal).

“We have 900 security dogs and to feed a dog each day we spend N800,” he said.

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Army Chief tasks NASS on funding



Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, the Chief of Army Staff, has appealed to the National Assembly to review the current envelope budgeting system of the Federal Government to ensure adequate funding for the Nigerian Army.

Lagbaja said this when he appeared before the National Assembly Joint Committee on Nigerian Army on Thursday in Abuja.

He said that the envelope system had led to inadequate funding for the Nigerian Army, especially its anti terrorism operation and other operations across the country.
Lagbaja also called on the national assembly to expedite action on the passage of the Armed Forces Support Trust Fund Bill, saying that the passage would enhance the operations of the Armed Forces, through improved funding.
The Chairman, of the Joint Committee, Sen. Abdulaziz Yar’ adua assured of transparency in the handling of the Nigerian Army 2024 budget.

He comended Lagbaja for taking responsibility for the bombing of Kaduna villagers and taking steps to investigate the matter.

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